By Chris Johnston/Guardian News & Media
A group of protesters backing Brexit and Donald Trump have disrupted a speech by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Khan’s address on gender equality to the Fabian Society in central London was suspended for several minutes yesterday morning while a small number of demonstrators from a recently formed far-right group called the White Pendragons made their protest.
Shortly after Khan began speaking at the society’s new year conference, one man told the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here today to make a non-violent, peaceful citizen’s arrest.”
One man shouted “No to the EU” and another displayed a US flag.
Audience members began to heckle and slow-clap, but the protesters resisted attempts to remove them, claiming that they would sue anyone who touched them for “common assault”.
Police officers then moved in to escort them from the venue.
The protesters claimed that the Fabian Society was “subverting our English constitution”, with one quoting the Magna Carta.
Outside the hall, the ITV News reporter Paul Brand asked them for clarity about their objection to the society, but did not get a clear response.
He said in a tweet that they claimed to be neither a racist, nor a far-right group. “But they told us Sadiq Khan has no right to be Mayor of London, referencing his religion.”
When Khan, a former chair of the Fabian Society, resumed his speech he quipped: “On the plus side, I wasn’t served with a P45” – a reference to Theresa May’s Tory conference speech that was interrupted by a prankster.
The mayor added: “It is a pleasure to be here even though we were distracted by the actions of what some would call very stable geniuses.”
Last Saturday the US president used the same phrase to describe himself in a tweet following questions about his mental health.
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